Sunday, December 31, 2006

Starting 2007 Arizona Style

Well, I arrived in Phoenix this afternoon with the family, no small feat with a 6 and 4 year old. After eating an early dinner all of us rode to the neighborhood park so the kids could stretch their legs. The weather can't be beat: High 50's and sunny on December 31st. Tomorrow the zoo is scheduled for the AM with the kids and then McDowell Mountain on the mtb with my brother in the PM. Should be a good day. Stay tuned for pictures...

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Phoenix Rides?

Any recommendations for road and/or mountain bike routes to try next week while I'm in Phoenix? I'll be staying near 7th Ave and E Union Hills Dr and will have 1.5 to 3 hours available for riding each day. I found the above photo of the Javelina trail in South Mountain on Looks like fun...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

More Free Stuff & Sick Yet Again

Some of you will recall my post regarding the Speedplay Zero pedals I won in the Cyclingnews Fantasy Vuelta game that I quickly sold on eBay. Well, today I received the other half of my prize, a pair of Maxxis Courchevel tires. Unlike the pedals, I am planning to use these next year for racing. I've never ridden Maxxis tires so it will be fun to try something new. In 2005 I used Michelin Pro Race tires and in 2006 I used Continental GP4000's. In 2007 I'll use a mix of tires on the following wheels:

Wheelset #1

Velocity Aerohead rims + Ultegra 6600 hubs + DT Competition spokes + Michelin Carbon tires

Notes: This will be my primary wheelset for Hell of the North and secondary wheels for all other races. Last year I raced Bontrager X-Lite Aeros with Michelin Carbon tires at Hell of the North and had zero issues. A tough, durable pair of wheels that I won't worry about tossing in the bed of a race support pickup. I'll use either an SRAM or Ultegra 11-23 cassette.

Wheelset #2

Velocity Fusion rims + White Industries LTA hubs + Sapim CX-Ray spokes + Maxxis Courchevel tires

Notes: Racing/Training wheels. I'll probably use a DA 11-23 cassette.

Wheelset #3

Mavic Ksyrium SL3 + Continental GP4000 tires

Notes: Racing/Training wheels. SRAM 11-26 cassette.

I should also mention that I had to miss work today due to my falling prey to a 24 hour intestinal bug that has been making the round of my immediate and extended family. I was one of the lucky ones and escaped with only a queasy stomach, chills and aches. My food intake started off slow this morning with some apple juice followed by a banana. A few hours later I consumed a small bowl of plain yogurt with homemade granola. After a few more glasses of apple juice and another banana I decided to eat a normal dinner with the family. So far all is well and I'm hopeful I'll be back at it tomorrow morning. My wife and daughter have already done their time with the bug so my son is the only remaining potential victim. Since we're scheduled to leave later this week for Phoenix my fingers are crossed that he'll stay healthy!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Fun in the snow

In addition to spending some time on the trainer the past two days I also ventured outside on the mountain bike. There is a canal a few blocks from our house with a dirt service road running alongside. Currently it's covered with 3-4 inches of snow which made for interesting riding. Somebody had driven a 4-wheeler on the road and the resulting packed snow made for good riding as long as I kept both wheels inside the tracks. The thing is, I had some issues holding the line so was constantly weaving around as one, or both, wheels slipped in and out of the rut. There was one section of the road that had seen heavy motorized and foot traffic so all of the snow was packed. This constant surface gave me enough confidence to pick up the speed a little which was fun. Other than that one section, however, I kept the gear pretty low so when I inevitably crossed into the deeper, wetter sections I was able to keep the pedals turning. A few times I thought I was going to stall out and fall over as my wheels slipped on uneven sections but throughout the ride I was able to keep it upright. Total ride time each day was only 35 minutes but it was fun to be outside doing something I don't normally do.

In terms of the trainer, I did another set of 3 minute building intervals this morning. This time my average heart rate looked like this: 154, 167, 182, 183 and 165 bpm. The numbers look good on the way up but coming back down it's clear that I'm having trouble recovering from the previous efforts. In another 1-2 weeks I'm going to add another set, though I'll probably do 10 minutes of recovery after completing the first set. Yeah, that's a bit weak I know, especially compared to the original recommendation to complete 3 sets in succession, but with time I should get there...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Friday, December 22, 2006

Good Advice

I received the following in response to my Feeling the force entry earlier this week. I thought it was too good to remain hidden in the Comments so I'm reposting it here:


Anonymous said...

I'm not a coach nor an exceptional rider, but I like riding indoors, so here's my advice.

The key to surviving trainer time is to keep it structured, e.g. 20 min warm-up (includes 1 min jumps), then 3 min medium intensity, then 3 min harder intensity, 3 min hardest, and back to medium, etc.. Do 3 times without resting, then rest 12 min and that's 1hr. Now you're ready to repeat it again, that's 1.5 hrs. I even structure my 10 min warm-down by riding at 115 RPM's and lowering RPM's by 5 every minute down to 70 and I'm done.

I couldn't ride steady indoors just to put in miles, that's inhumane. Yesterday I did 1.75 hr including 1hr tempo ride. This time the slight burn and visualizations made it interesting.

Concentrate on riding and visualizations, not on music or television. Always approach the trainer with a plan in mind. "What do I want to accomplish today? A tempo ride? Intervals? A fitness test? One legged?" Know what will make you be satisfied with your ride and do it.


I did one set of the building 3 minute intervals (5x3) during this morning's trainer session and ended up with the following average heart rates: 145, 160, 174, 175, 161. I don't have cadence on my computer but I'm guessing the reason #4 was harder than #3, even though the gear was smaller, is because I rode it at a higher cadence than I did for #2. Either that or my recovery sucks right now...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

It's that time of year...

...and no, I'm not talking about Christmas. For those of you with Flexible Spending Accounts, also known as a Section 125 or Cafeteria plan, this is the time of year when you try and find ways to spend any remaining money before the end of the year. Any money not spent is lost as it doesn't roll over from one year to the next. So today I visited the dentist and optometrist (to renew my contact lens prescription so I can buy more) and tomorrow I see Dr. Albano, a Sports Medicine doctor I was referred to by Dr. Testa, to get an ultrasound of my right knee. Good times. What's cool about this account is that all contributions are pre-tax and the annual amount is available starting January 1. Also, pretty much everything is fair game for reimbursement assuming it's an OTC drug or prescribed by a doctor. I'm considering asking either Dr. Testa or Dr. Albano to hook me up with a prescription for the 2007 Specialized S-Works road shoe. Given that I currently require a shim to correctly align my right knee, I figure that using a pair of shoes that has the shim incorporated into the sole would be even better. We'll see what the doctors think about my plan...

As far as riding is concerned it's all trainer for me. However, I'll be heading south like Fox soon enough to soak up some of that Arizona sun. I've had enough of winter.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Feeling the force

Thanks to a bit of phone consulting courtesy of Fox, I was able to install my new SRAM Force brake calipers this evening without too much trouble. They look sweet on the bike and are significantly lighter than the 105 calipers they replaced. My Rival compact crankset should arrive either Wednesday or Thursday and, based on what I read on the Park Tool website, the installation doesn't look too difficult. Speaking of difficult, I had some issues with my front derailleur shifting to the big ring yesterday (yeah, I must admit to spending some time in the little ring...) and my intial attempt to fix the problem did nothing except make it worse (adjusting the height and rotational angle without releasing the tension on the inner wire is darn near impossible). However, after consulting the Park Tool website, and after about 45 minutes of trial & error, I was able to dial it in to the point where it now shifts better than ever.

As far as riding goes, I did 40 minutes on the trainer this morning with one good 20 minute effort at 162 average bpm. Pretty weak I know... I still haven't figured out how some of you can throw down 2-3 hours on the trainer. That is just plain crazy.

I stopped by Contender this afternoon to buy some cable cutters and checked out Ryan's snow beast. All I can say is those wheels are HUGE. Reed was talking about snow skating which sounded fun. Maybe I need to try a bit harder to find a reason to like snow. Anybody know if you can rent that stuff? Might be worth a try...

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Weekend Stuff

Yesterday was a record tying day for December in Utah with a high near 60. Unfortunately I found myself at work during the best part of the day and only managed 45 minutes outdoors in the late afternoon. While the wind had picked up and the temperature was falling as a cold front moved in from the north, it was still nice to be outside. I rode out to Bluffdale on 1300 W then jumped on Redwood at 14400 S and headed south to 15000 S where I turned west. I rode that up and then dropped down to 14000 S and home on 1300 W. A short 13 miles but still fun.

This morning I managed 60 minutes on the trainer while watching Pirates II with the kids. Cami, Alder and I went to 'A Christmas Carol' at the Hale Center Theatre in the afternoon. Dickens is a favorite of mine and the performance did not disappoint. After picking Kate up from Great Grandma's we enjoyed an early dinner at the Market Street Broiler. For those with children, they have a fantastic kids menu that includes a drink, small soup or salad, entree and ice cream sandwich for $4.99. A killer deal considering we're talking real, high quality, freshly prepared food instead of the typical preservative laden crap you find on the kids menu of most restaurants.

We're forecast to receive more snow tonight/tomorrow morning followed by 4-5 days of cold and dry weather. However, it's looking like it will warm up to at least 40 for the weekend so keep your fingers crossed that the snow/rain stays away! I picked up some winter socks today (the 20% Contender club discount on socks in December almost makes Assos affordable!) and need to take them out for a ride.

Next week I hope to get my Force brakes & Rival crankset installed with the help of Sly. I'm looking forward to trying the compact out on the climbs in Fountain Hills when I'm down south next month.

Big congratulations are in order to the Utah cross racers who rode strongly at nationals this weekend. For details, check out the Doctor's report here.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Which should I buy?

I have decided to purchase a compact crank (50x34) which, when paired with my SRAM 11-26 cassette, should get my old knees up and down these Utah mountains without too much trouble. The challenge, as with all cycling related purchases, is determining what exactly to buy. Right now this is what I have on my list of possibilities (in no particular order):

SRAM Force
SRAM Rival
Shimano R700
Campagnolo Chorus CT ('06 or '07)
Campagnolo Centaur CT ('06 or '07)

Since I currently have an Ultegra 6600 crank I wouldn't need to purchase a BB if I went with the Shimano compact. My drivetrain is SRAM Rival so either of the SRAM cranks make sense with the Rival costing 1/2 of the Force at the expense of an additional 50-60 grams. Aesthetically speaking I love Campy. My wrenching skills are quite limited so ideally I would purchase the crank from a local shop, with Contender being my preference.

What would you do?

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Check out the goat

For those of you who read my first post, you will have heard of my friend Nathan, whom I began riding bikes with at the age of 14 in Boise, ID. Nathan is a fast rider, much quicker than I am on the bike, especially when the road starts climbing. Currently a Cat 4 who raced for Vanderbilt's Collegiate A team this year while finishing up his PhD, he is now teaching undergrads in Pennsylvania. Given that a professor's life is one of leisure and abundant free time, Nathan has started blogging. Having enlisted the services of a respected cycling coach and purchased a wheelset built around a Powertap SL rear hub, his entries for the 2007 season should be both informative and entertaining. At least that is my hope... I have added a link over on the right, though for those reading this entry you can check it out here.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Sick of Doping

While I'm talking about things that make me sick I should quickly note that I have had it with the recent flurry of doping related stories. I don't know about you, but in my opinion the sport is killing itself. I mean, what other sport does so much to broadcast its dirty laundry to the world?! Recently, nothing pisses me off more than reading about yet another race organizer who is taking a stand on what rider or team can or can't participate in their race. And the notion that a rider is guilty unless they can prove their innocence, regardless of how weak the evidence against them, is plain crazy. Personally I don't know if Basso doped or not but given that he has been cleared by his federation on what grounds can he or Discovery be excluded from racing? How the race organizers get off thinking they can judge a rider's guilt or innocence is beyond me. And then you have jokers like Patrick Lefévère who in my eyes is a perfect example of the ultimate cycling hypocrite. On top of all that, you also have guys like Bart and Sager (among others) getting totally screwed by USADA. It's completely insane and out of control.

The LA Times recently ran a story on doping in sports. Here is Part I and Part II for your reading pleasure. If you don't have time to read the entire article you can find highlights here.

Oh, and one more thing, if you've ever wondered what it would be like to take performance enhancing drugs, read this.

Sick Again

Yeah, so like Bart I woke up Monday morning with a sore throat and head congestion. It's only been 3 weeks since my last cold so it really sucks. However, if you noticed the Christmas card posted below you should understand why. Kids are great and one thing they are really good at is bringing home germs! Seriously, every time one of them gets sick you can bet I'll follow within a week. I can't wait for 2007 when both of them will be in school - nothing like double the germs coming home... The winter is by far the most difficult time of year. I don't recall any of us getting sick from April to October this year which is a solid 7 months. Too bad we can't keep it rolling through the colder months. Guess that's another reason to move south one of these years.

So, as you might have guessed, I am laying low this week as far as the bike is concerned. Starting tomorrow I'll do some easy spins on the trainer to loosen up the legs for a good session of stretching each day. If any of you know any secrets for staying healthy this time of year please pass them on. I need all the help I can get!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Merry Christmas

Anybody know what movie the last line of text in the card is from?

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Good Day

Did a solid 2.5 hours today with Adam and Doug around South Mountain. There was a stiff wind blowing from the south which made the ride out tougher than usual. My legs felt good on the flats and short hills but when we started the climb to Suncrest (from the south) I had nothing. Adam was giving it some gas from the beginning and beat us up by a fair margin. It's funny how quickly I lose what little ability I do have to climb. I just tried to keep it steady and ended up putting in a solid effort for this time of year, averaging 175 bpm for the climb. In fact, with the wind and climb, my average heart rate for the entire ride was in the mid 160's. My least favorite part of the ride was descending from Suncrest to Draper. I get a bit freaked out coming down with my Ksyriums when the wind is gusting. However, one benefit of the wind is that the inversion is finally over and the air is clear. It's nice to be able to see the mountains from my house again.

After the ride I loaded up the family and headed downtown to hang out. We ate a tasty dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then walked to Temple Square to see the lights. We rode TRAX from the Courthouse to the Gateway which the kids loved. On the way home we jumped on the University line instead of the Sandy line so had to walk from the Library to our car parked on Main St. In total we probably walked close to 90 minutes and my legs are now extremely tired!

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Just checking in

So this week has been pretty boring on the training front with more tempo work on the trainer. However, that should soon change as I'm planning to bring the bike to work tomorrow and do a lunch ride. Saturday also looks good for 2-3 hours in the great outdoors. Reading the blogs of the local guys I'm amazed at how much riding people do in the winter, both inside and outside. Me, I probably average 3-5 hours a week during the cold months with at least 50% of that coming from my Saturday ride. Holidays are the only chance I really have to get in some decent hours this time of year. For example, the week of Thanksgiving I did 9.5 hours on the bike. Of course, my highest volume week in 2006 was only 12 hours...

With the purchase of my new mountain bike shoes I've been itching to ride the dirt and need to plan a quick trip to St. George. I plan to bring it to Phoenix in January but it would be nice to get out once before that to remind myself how to ride offroad.

Monday, December 4, 2006


Stage 17 of the 2007 Giro looks insane. Nothing like a 22% grade to finish off the day. How about a stretch of 3.5 miles at an average of nearly 15%? That is crazy. Check it out:

On Saturday the family and I did a little Christmas shopping before attending Frosty the Snowman at the Children's Theatre of Salt Lake. The show wasn't bad but the shopping was better as I picked up a pair of '07 Specialized S-Works Mountain shoes at Bingham's in SLC. So far the only riding I've done with them has been circles in my garage while I adjusted the cleats but man, I can't believe how good they feel. If they weren't so darn expensive I'd pick up a pair for the road too. Anybody know how I can save a few bucks? If so please let me know. My brother dusted off his old mountain bike this weekend so I may need to follow RB's example and leave the road bike at home when we visit him in Phoenix next month.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Check out these pics...

Neil@ROAD has some interesting pictures and stories up in his latest post. Check these out:

Dave Z


Tony Cruz


Today was a rest day which meant I was spared from spending more time on the trainer. However, looking at tomorrow's forecast I should be back at it in the morning. To all you crazy souls who will be racing cross on Saturday - GOOD LUCK! It's going to be cold!

PS - If you need a new bike and haven't bought T-Bird's yet you're crazy. Buy it before it's gone. That deal ain't going to last.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Buy T-Bird's Bike

T-Bird is selling his "training bike" for an outrageously cheap price. You can check out the details here but in summary it's a 57 cm Colnago Dream HP with a Star carbon fork built with a mix of Campy Chorus and Record. Competitive Cyclist lists this frame (with the heavier Street carbon fork) for $2,500. T-Bird is selling the complete bike for $2,650 and including a bunch of extra stuff. I was seriously tempted to pick it up for myself as I've been dreaming (no pun intended) about owning an Italian frame with Campy components since I was a kid. Unfortunately it's a bit too small.

In terms of riding, I did another 45 minute session on the trainer this morning that included a 30 minute effort at an average hr of 163. I really should do 2x20's but once I get into it I just want the ride to be over and end up extending the duration of the first interval. I noticed some unused fans at work today so I may borrow one for the next few months. With a little air circulation I should be more comfortable and, hopefully, able to ride longer. Anybody up for an early training camp to St. George? Looks like sun and highs in the low 50's next week!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Misc. Stuff

The last couple of days have found me on the trainer. I'll be the first to admit that I am a total wimp when it comes to riding indoors. For some reason it feels so much more difficult regardless of where my heart rate happens to be. I could be doing a recovery spin at 120 bpm inside and it feels harder than rolling in the 150's outside. Why is that? Anyway, I did manage to complete 45 minutes yesterday and today which I figure is better than nothing. Once I find a fan (hopefully Team Rico will post some info when he locates a good one) I should be able to bring it up to 60 minutes which is about my threshold. Last year I did 90 minutes in my parent's garage over the Christmas break with my friend Nathan. However, that is, and probably will always be, my longest indoor ride. Turbo B said that he only rode the trainer 3 or 4 times last winter. Maybe I need to follow suit and do more lunch rides. The thing that sucks is spending 15 minutes getting dressed & undressed (total time ~30 minutes) in winter gear for a 60 minute ride. Maybe I just need to learn how to change clothes quicker...

Neil@ROAD mentioned that so far Discovery, CSC, Predictor-Lotto, Saunier Duval and T-Mobile will be sending teams to the Tour of California. Should be a fun race and I'd love to swing a trip to watch/ride for a few days. The problem is that my family connections in northern CA moved to Seattle so I would need to throw down some $ for a hotel. Maybe RB knows of a good bridge I could camp under...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Need some new pedals?

So I've been playing Cyclingnews' fantasy cycling games for a couple of years now and finally put together a competitive team for the 2006 Vuelta where I placed 3rd. As a result I won a pair of Speedplay Zero Stainless pedals and Maxxis Courchevel tires. The Speedplays arrived today and I'm still waiting for the tires. Unfortunately, my wife and I ride Time pedals and have no need for the Speedplays. I've listed them on eBay but if you're local we can arrange to meet which will save you the shipping costs. For $150 which includes the cleat covers I think it's a killer deal.

You can buy the pedals here.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Yes, it seems like winter has finally arrived even if it's not official until December 21st. Temps this week will be downright chilly and if all goes as forecast we'll awake to the first valley snow of the season tomorrow morning.

Unfortunately this means that my riding this week will be spent predominantly on the trainer. My wife wanted to be included in the fun this year so I borrowed a second trainer from a friend and set her bike up next to mine in the basement office. So now we can "ride" together. Should be loads of fun. Good thing Sandros has mixed up several hours of quality tunes to help pass the time.

About this time of year Arizona starts to look really appealing. Conveniently my brother lives in Phoenix and I'll be spending a week with the family at his place in January. I'm also planning a solo trip in February to work & ride for a week. I'm lucky that everything I need to be productive at work is available online so with my laptop and my brother's high speed wireless connection I'm in business.

If anybody has St. George connections that they want to share let me know... :)

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Can you believe it?!

Amazing game. I thought BYU was done when they all but disappeared in the 2nd and 3rd quarters but somehow they pulled it together and stole the game. 33-31 BYU. Incredible.

The last two days have been good on the bike. After my near bonk on Thursday I wasn't sure how I would feel but both days the legs were good. I rode 90 minutes each day which brings my weekly total to 8.5 hours. That may not seem like much but it's more than I've ridden in a week for at least 2 months. I've been riding the rural roads northeast of Boise, heading to Caldwell yesterday and a loop through Star today. My cousin Brian tagged along today and rode strong seeing as it was his first time on the bike in more than a month. Of course, this is the same guy who ran a 3:13 marathon 2 years ago after training for a week! Needless to say he is gifted physically.

I was taking pictures of the kids at my grandparents in Caldwell yesterday and had to take a few of the bike too.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Turkey Day Bonk

Why are distances always shorter in memory than real life? I set out this morning at 9 am with the intention of riding to Little Freezeout hill in Emmett, a ride I planned on taking about 2 hours. For some reason I thought the hill was a lot closer than it turned out to be... I enjoyed the ride out and decided to turn onto Little Freezeout instead of continuing on the highway into town. I descended to the bottom and immediately turned around to start the ride home. I soon realized that what I had thought would be an easy descent back to Beacon Light turned out to require a little more effort due to a strong sidewind. Since I had originally planned to only ride 2 hours I hadn't taken any food with me and had only water in my bottle. After 2 hours and with another 30 minutes ahead of me I knew that I would need to stop and buy something to eat. Unfortunately, the closest convenience store was in Eagle so the next 20 minutes saw my perceived extertion constantly increase while my heart rate started to drop. It's a funny thing looking back, seeing your heart rate at 115 yet feeling like you're giving it full gas. My speed started to decline from 20 to 19 to 18, 17, 16, 15 until I finally turned off of Beacon Light and started the descent down the hill into Eagle. Stopping at the first gas station, I bought a chocolate milk and package of mini donuts. Five minutes later I was on the road again and this time, instead of continuing to drop, my speed gradually increased. Not the best pre-Thanksgiving dinner meal I know but at least it got me home.

Tomorrow I'll remember to pack something to eat just in case my memory fails me again...

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Managed to get a solid 2 hours in this morning. The weather was perfect and my legs felt good. I rode a loop out Redwood to Camp Williams then east to Thanksgiving Point and back home via 14600 S and 1300 W. I hate the 1/2 mile section of road south of Camp Williams before the turnoff to TGP. For the number of vehicles on the road and the high speed limit (50?) it really needs to be widened.

We're driving to Boise, ID this afternoon to spend Thanksgiving with my family. I'm taking the bike and trainer but hope the weather cooperates so I don't need to use the latter. The quantity and quality of home cooked food is really quite ridiculous so I'll need to exercise some serious self control to avoid putting on 5 pounds this weekend.

Hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'll Take It

As far as my riding is concerned today was noteworthy for two reasons:

1) I was on the road at 8am wearing only leg & arm warmers, toe booties, sleeveless base, summer jersey and wind vest. Originally I had planned to ride in the early afternoon but when I checked the temp at 7:45am and saw it was 52 (according to KSL) I decided to do it early. Pretty incredible for Nov. 20 in Salt Lake City.

2) Towards the end of my ride I did the steep 1 mile climb up Bangerter to the Chevron on Highland in Draper. Since I'm still not completely recovered from my cold I didn't want to go into the red so stayed in the saddle and didn't give it full gas. This necessitated riding at a lower cadence than normal but my knee felt fine both during and after the ride. My fingers are crossed that it is (finally!) starting to heal. Shows what a good bike fitting can do. If you don't believe me check out what RB had to say on the subject.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

The trouble with knees

I've had some issues with my right knee since Nov '06 that I can trace to an evening of sit ups followed by a lunch run the following day. To be honest I'm not sure if either of those events has any bearing on my current condition but the pain started a few hours after the run so they at least seem to be related. So I haven't run since which honestly hasn't been a problem since I didn't enjoy it much to begin with. What has been a nuisance is the fact that my knee aches following hard rides. So last month I decided to see an Ortho and met with Dr. Eric Heiden at TOSH. He took some x-rays and quickly determined that I was experiencing patella-femoral pain probably due to a slight misalignment of my upper and lower leg bones. In addition to consistent stretching he felt that my position on the bike should be looked at so walked me upstairs to meet Dr. Max Testa. I won't go into details but needless to say these two really know their stuff. I scheduled a bike fitting for the following week with Dr. Testa where he later shimmed my cleats to bring my right knee into proper alignment and correct for a slight leg-length discrepancy. After a year of Ibuprofen and Naproxen I am finally starting to ride without anti-inflammatories.

So what I really wanted to touch on is Glucosamine Chondroitin supplements. Drs. Heiden and Testa recommended that I give it a try for a month. So I picked up a bottle from Costco on Monday and have been taking one pill with breakfast and dinner. It's still too early to tell if it is helping but I wondered if anybody else is using it and, if so, has it helped? Coincidentally, Coach C touched on this exact subject in his weekly newsletter. Hopefully my experience will be as good as his.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Feeling Better

Many thanks to The Mop and Sleevie for the kind words on my first post.

The weather today was fantastic: Mid 50's and sunny with a slight wind out of the south. I woke up still feeling a bit down so when I left the house at 10 am I decided to limit myself to a mellow hour. I wore my bib tights with a sleeveless base layer and long sleeve winter jersey topped with a wind vest. That turned out to be a little too much and after 10 minutes I was opening zippers to allow for a bit of circulation. I did a quick loop out by the prison which, for those not familiar with the south end of the valley, looked like this: North on 1300 W to 10400 S then south on the frontage road until 14600 S where you hang a right. Continue west on 14600 S and 14400 S then return on 2700 W. Ended up being just under 19 miles and 70 minutes. I was tired when I got home so I'm glad I didn't go any longer. Average heart rate was 141 so the pace was about right.

Normally my wife stays off the bike during the colder months but she couldn't resist the mild weather and went out for an hour herself. This was her second season riding and I'm still unsure if introducing her to the bike was a good or bad idea. For those of you with kids and a spouse who rides you know what I'm talking about. It takes a fair bit of compromise to satisfy two riding schedules when somebody needs to stay home with the kids. Once the oldest is able to watch his sister things will be much easier. Only 6 more years to go... It is cool, however, to ride the ULCER with your spouse on (or near) your wedding anniversary. We've done that for 2 years now and consider it a tradition. Plus, it makes our dinner date later that evening much more enjoyable since after riding for 5-6 hours the last thing we need to worry about is counting calories!

Next week the weather is forecast to be even warmer so I'm looking forward to getting in some good lunch miles on Monday and Tuesday. Working at a small software company certainly has its benefits with flexible hours and an extremely casual office at the top of the list. Once a week I may need to give the Specialized Lunch Ride a try after Thanksgiving to get in some high intensity work (at least for the 5-10 minutes I manage to hang onto the back of the group!). One of my goals for the 07 season is to ride with stronger guys on a regular basis. There's a good group in South Jordan that I hooked up with off and on over the summer. Last winter I did a couple of hours with the group out of Racer's in Provo each Saturday (we moved to Riverton from Payson in May) and need to find something similar in the area. Either that or start driving to Provo on Saturdays. I also need to get over my fear of racing and figure the best way to do it will be to become a regular at one of the weekly training crits. When I was a kid all of my speed (what little there was) came from the weekly Tuesday Nighter so I need to swallow my pride and start getting worked. Any other suggestions are welcome.

The more I ride with my SRAM stuff the more I like it. There's something about the Rival shifters and my new Easton EC70 bars that just works for my hands. Where before I needed to constantly change hand positions to keep my fingers from going numb now I can ride with no discomfort at all. The 11-26 is pretty cool too but I think it would be even better with a compact crankset. I'm thinking of picking up a Campy Chorus CT in the next few months to give it a try. I did ok climbing this year with a 39x27 but I still felt like I was grinding up the steeper climbs in the valley: LC, Suncrest (north side) and sections of Butterfield (but really, who doesn't grind up those switchbacks?) and the Nebo Loop. My right knee gave me grief after those efforts so I'm hoping a 34x26 helps. I just need to make a rule that the 26 is only an option for the aforementioned climbs so I don't get lazy!

Speaking of sweet upgrades, check this out:

My son wants a pair of the blue camo BMX tires for Christmas!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Let's get it started

So I suppose a little background information is in order given that this is my first post... I'm an accomplished blog reader but a complete novice when it comes to actually creating my own. Please be patient while I try and figure it out. I'm afraid this blog will mirror my riding: Full of good intentions and high expectations but never quite reaching its potential! Oh well, I suppose the reason riding is so addictive is because "getting fast" is such a puzzle. Perhaps the blog will shed some light on what I'm doing wrong.

I rode & raced as a kid growing up in Boise, ID but never really amounted to much. I started riding with my cousin Scott and friend Nathan in order to earn the Cycling merit badge for scouts. At the time my ride consisted of a BMX bike with a bag strapped to my bars that I used to carry a water bottle and snacks. 25 miles doesn't seem like much now but back then it was a major accomplishment. For the 50-miler I rented a 10 speed from the local shop and rode to-and-from Caldwell where we enjoyed a nice rest stop at my grandparent's for breakfast. Soon after I graduated to my Dad's old Raleigh that we "upgraded" with a pair of clincher wheels (to replace the long dead tubulars), a 6 speed freewheel and a new saddle (the original Brook's was a rock after years in the garage). The wheels were Mavic MA40's and Performance hubs if memory serves me. The Raleigh was replaced a year later with a Schwinn Circuit (anybody remember those sweet white & gray Shimano Sante components?!) and finally a Specialized Allez Epic with 105 two years after that. While I did a bit of racing as a Junior, my major accomplishments were riding the Tuesday Nighter with the "fast" group (this took about 3 years of suffering to accomplish!) and finishing the 1991 Ronald McDonald Century in 4:17. I always seemed to leave my legs at home when it came to actual races!

Once I started college the bike took a back seat to dating, a mission and marriage. After 12 years off the bike I talked my wife into letting me buy a Trek 5200 frame built with 105 components in the fall of 2003 so I could ride with a friend who had just purchased a road bike. Needless to say my promise that the extra weight would "melt off like butter" proved true (cheesy thing to say I know but it was the best argument I had at the time) and here I am, 15,000 miles and 50 pounds later, back at it trying to figure out how to ride faster just like when I was 16.

Anyway, for the past week I've been sick with a cold I picked up from my kids. Basically anytime my kids are sick I follow about a week later, no matter how meticulous I am about washing my hands, eating well, taking zinc lozenges, going to bed early, etc., etc., etc.. Frustrates me to no end, especially considering that my wife almost never picks up their colds. Oh well, at least it has given me another week of rest from the bike which will probably end up being a good thing down the road (no pun intended). However, after limiting myself to three 20 minute sessions of easy spinning on the trainer to prep my legs for some quality stretching I'm ready to give it a go on the road tomorrow. I'm shooting for 1-2 hours of easy riding before the BYU game assuming I wake up feeling ok. The weather looks prime next week so I don't want to go too hard tomorrow and setback my recovery.